Coronavirus information and guidance

Sustainable Aquaculture - Distance Learning (UG Cert) 2021 entry

Aquaculture is one of the world's fastest growing industries, with an average growth rate of over 8% per year for the past ten years. The Undergraduate Certificate course in Sustainable Aquaculture introduces the topic and focuses on the global aquaculture industry alongside fish and invertebrate biology. No previous study of aquaculture is required.

This modular course is delivered part-time by distance learning via online tutorial support, direct email contact with tutors, video streams and access to student bulletin boards. 


Course type

Undergraduate Certificate

Course duration

44 weeks part-time

  • January 2021 course start date: 25 January 2021
  • September 2021 course start date: 13 September 2021
  • January 2022 course start date: 17 January 2022

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Entry requirements

These grades are the overall standards required to consider you for entry. Find out more about Standard, Minimum and Gateway entry requirements using and see which entry requirements you need to look at using the entry requirements indicator.

  • At least two Highers, or equivalent, from the following subjects:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing
    • Geography
    • Geology
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.
  • At least one A-Level, or equivalent, from the following subjects:

    • Biology
    • Chemistry
    • Computing
    • Geography
    • Geology
    • Mathematics
    • Physics
    • Psychology.

International applicants

If English is not your first language, you will need an overall IELTS score of 6.5, with a minimum score of 6.0 in each component (Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking), or an equivalent.

Do I need to have studied this subject before?

You do not need previous knowledge of sustainable aquaculture to apply.

General entry requirements

All applicants must have attained the following qualifications, or equivalent, in addition to the specific entry requirements for individual programmes.

SQA qualifications

SQA National 5 (B) in English and one SQA National 5 (B) from the following:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computing science
  • Geography
  • Lifeskills Mathematics (A grade)
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology.

GCSE qualifications

GSCE (5) in English language or English literature, and one GSCE (5) from the following:

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Computing Science
  • Geography
  • Mathematics
  • Physics
  • Psychology.

Other qualifications

More information on how to apply via other entry routes or accreditation of prior learning and experience can be found on the University’s entry requirements web page.

How to apply

To apply, you will need to complete the following:

You should email a copy of your application form and two reference forms to Mrs Katrina Gatherum at

Course information

The Undergraduate Certificate in Sustainable Aquaculture is a part-time, distance learning course. The course is delivered by the School of Biology and normally takes 44 weeks to complete.

To obtain the certificate, students are required to complete three modules. Each module is divided into a series of topics with associated assessments, tutorials and case studies. There will be a monitored examination at the end of each module.

Students can expect to spend four to six hours studying per topic, per week. New topics are published weekly, but do not necessarily need to be completed in the week they are published. 


To obtain the certificate, students are required to complete three modules:

  • Module 1 (BL1801): The Global Aquaculture Industry: introduces the concept and definition of aquaculture and describes the global industry in the main production regions. Also considers the concept of sustainability, outlining the major environmental, social and economic factors contributing to this.

  • Module 2 (BL2802): Fish and Invertebrate Biology: addresses the essential aspects of fish and invertebrate biology, including the anatomy and physiology of the circulatory, respiratory, nervous, digestive, sensory, endocrine and reproductive systems. The module also looks at the life cycle of invertebrate and vertebrate aquaculture species.

  • Module 3: students pick from one of the following three options:
    • Aquaculture: Products and Markets (BL2803): provides an understanding of the diversity of species, value of markets and the global trade of aquaculture products for finfish and invertebrates, including the importance of value added and niche products.
    • Aquaculture Nutrition (BL2804): provides an introduction to the anatomy, physiology and nutritional requirements of key fish and invertebrate species. It also assesses the sustainability of feed production technology and discusses the relationship between nutrition and fish health.
    • Aquaculture Health (BL2805): provides an introduction to the disease processes in cultured fish and invertebrates including viral, bacterial, parasitic and non-infectious disease. The module also looks at the importance of management in minimising the impact of disease and optimising cultured species welfare and sustainability.


Teaching format

Modules are taught through the use of an online e-learning platform with:

  • tutorial support
  • direct contact with tutors
  • video streams
  • access to student bulletin boards. 

The University’s student services team can help students with additional needs resulting from disabilities, long-term medical conditions or learning disabilities. More information can be found on the students with disabilities web page.


Classes are assessed through a combination of written examinations and coursework.

Undergraduates at the University of St Andrews must achieve at least 7.0 on the St Andrews 20-point grade scale to pass a module. To find out the classification equivalent of points, please see the common reporting scale web.

Meet us online

If you're interested in studying at St Andrews, join us on a virtual visiting day or daily information session to find out about our courses, how to apply, and to meet current students.

Virtual visiting days


Our spring 2021 visiting days have now passed. Dates for our Autumn 2021 visiting days will be available later in the summer.


Tuition fees for 2021 entry


Accommodation fees 

Find out about accommodation fees for University accommodation. 

Funding and scholarships

The University of St Andrews offers a number of scholarships and support packages to undergraduate students each year.

Find out more about undergraduate scholarships

Your future

Undergraduate degrees

Find out more about the undergraduate degrees in Marine Biology, and Biology more widely, at the University of St Andrews.

Postgraduate degrees

See the Sustainable Aquaculture PGDip/MSc and Sustainable Aquaculture PG Cert course pages for more information about postgraduate degrees in Sustainable Aquaculture.


Students who take postgraduate modules in Sustainable Aquaculture will typically pursue a career in higher-level management, research and development, or business development within the global aquaculture business.

The Careers Centre offers one-to-one advice to all students as well as a programme of events to assist students to build their employability skills. 


School of Biology
University of St Andrews
Biomedical Sciences Research Complex
North Haugh
St Andrews
KY16 9ST

Phone: +44 (0)1334 46 3401

Biology website

Course Director: Dr Neil Hazon
Scottish Oceans Institute
University of St Andrews
St Andrews
KY16 8LB


Undergraduate Certificate in Sustainable Aquaculture Administrator: Mrs Katrina Gatherum
Scottish Oceans Institute
University of St Andrews
St Andrews
KY16 8LB



Admission to the University of St Andrews is governed by our admissions policy.

Information about all programmes from previous years of entry can be found in the archive.

Curriculum development

As a research intensive institution, the University ensures that its teaching references the research interests of its staff, which may change from time to time. As a result, programmes are regularly reviewed with the aim of enhancing students' learning experience. Our approach to course revision is described online (PDF, 72 KB).

Tuition fees

The University will clarify compulsory fees and charges it requires any student to pay at the time of offer. The offer will also clarify conditions for any variation of fees. The University’s approach to fee setting is described online (PDF, 84 KB).